A Clemson University professor who is researching a wide range of materials that could help create everything from self-healing paint to bacteria-killing medical devices was selected for an honor that goes to a small fraction of his peers.

Marek Urban was chosen to be Fellow in the American Chemical Society’s Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering.

Marek Urban, right, is developing polymers that heal themselves like skin.

Marek Urban, right, is developing polymers that heal themselves like skin.

Urban, the J.E. Sirrine Foundation Endowed Chair and Professor, was recognized “for many advances in polymer science and technology, highlighted by innovations in stimuli-responsive, self-healing, and anti-microbial materials.”

“It’s an honor to be recognized by my peers,” he said. “This brings together a number of years of work. Considering this is for outstanding contributions to science and technology, it sets the tone for what is to come.”

The division’s Fellows program was started in 2000 and honors a small fraction of its members for outstanding scientific and technological contributions to polymer material science and engineering.

Urban is a faculty member in Clemson’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

His research on self-healing materials has made a splash in academia and the popular press. The technology holds the hope of creating car paint and cell phones that fix their own scratches, military vehicles that patch their own bullet holes and hip replacements that could repair themselves.

Urban is now extending his work to make functional materials “smart.” For example, cotton shirts that might otherwise be a commodity could control temperature.

He is also working on materials that can be bent, twisted or otherwise misshapen but remember their original form and go back to they way they were.

Urban has also begun to explore how to create materials infused with bacteria-killing macrophages that show promise for creating next-generation medical devices or implants.

Rajendra Bordia, chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Clemson, congratulated Urban on being named Fellow.

“This highly selective award, by his peers, is an affirmation of the significant scientific and engineering contributions that Dr. Urban has made,” Bordia said.  “He is a leading polymer scientist and it is good to see this well-deserved recognition of the impact of his research.”